Archive for the 'hobbies' Category

by mkeefe on Aug 5th, 2015

One Year With a BMW M3

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Photo Credit: B.Davis Photography

Time certainly flies, i’ve now owned the M3 for a little over one year. In that year i’ve spent money on track days, autocross events, rallies, car shows, repairs, mods, ticket :( and insurance. I figured I would take a moment and go over my experiences with each category.

Taking the M3 to it’s natural habitat… the track!

Earlier this year I was invited to a Porsche sponsored track day at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. This was my first time going to a track (besides NASCAR) and naturally the first time i’d be taking my car on the track. After a quick classroom session, we strapped on our helmets, got in and did some follow the leader style track driving. The amount of knowledge I gathered in a few short runs was mind-melting. I recommend anyone interested in sports cars to attend at least one track day in their life.


Photo Credit: Porsche of Westwood

Autocross took a back seat

Here we are in August and i’ve only attended one autocross event. This is due in part to work obligations, family trips and attending more community driven events (car shows and rides) that in previous years. I did manage to get my only ticket on the way to that autocross event though, so that will be a memorable event, for all the wrong reasons.

Rallies and Car Shows

Something about cars, octane, coffee (which I do not drink) and great people makes Cars & Coffee a great way to spend a Saturday morning. I’m very fortunate to live about 15 minutes from Larz Anderson Auto Museum which hosts the greatest C&C in the area. Over the year i’ve made some great friends, contacts and even landed a few clients.

In addition to C&C, i’ve also attended a few car rallies, which is basically an event that car folks gather, drive to a destination and grab some food. It’s not a race or a timed event, once again great people and nice cars. What’s not to love?

3 Day Rally Upcoming

Next week my wife and I will be attending our first multi-day rally to Canada. It will be quite the adventure, once again awesome cars and great people. One thing cars has created is a bond with other owners that no other hobby i’ve had seemed to.

Cost of Ownership

Aside from the track day and other car events, the TCO (total cost of ownership) on the M3 has been much higher than any of my other cars. However its all relative. Here is a short list of what i’ve had to do maintenance wise:

– Flush the differential fluid
– Replace side skirt
– 3x oil changes
– Repair adaptive headlights
– Replace inside trim pieces
– Wiper blades
– Tires (these go quick!)

As you can see, more than a typical family sedan, but the SPG (smiles per gallon) far outweigh the TCO for the past year.

Planned to Mod the M3 Over Time

Well I had planned to slowly mod the car over a few years of ownership, but that didn’t really work so well. In the past year i’ve changed the lights, intake, ECU tune, exhaust, tint and exterior trim pieces… to name a few. Part of the reason for modding was because i’m impatient, but it also allowed me to spend time looking over the car, working on it myself and just enjoying ownership more. I think i’m done modding for this season, but have already started a list for 2016.

What’s Next?

I’m at a crossroads right now, I want to keep the M3 a few more years, however the warranty expires in late 2016. Which of course means the cost for the years following will be much higher. I’d also like to try other cars, so far I have my eye on a few Porsches, Mercedes and even some older Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s. I guess time will tell on how long the M3 will be in the garage.

Bonus item: Washing, waxing and detailing is quite a lot of fun. Especially because I just learned about Chemical Guys products and all their gadgets. Here is a photo after hitting the car with a soap cannon.